For this post, I wanted to talk about some of the art projects we do. Some look amazing and some are a little more difficult to tell what they are suppose to be. Sometimes when the parents see their child’s work they respond with a ” oh… cool… it’s a… hmm… what is it?” And, I’m not going to lie… It used to be a little embarrassing for me. I didn’t want the parents to think that I didn’t have lesson plans and that I just let the kids do whatever they wanted for art by gluing random items onto paper. Below are pictures of the students creating a plowed field. They are intensely working on this project. They loved that they got to use a comb as a paint brush and that they got to cover the paper in sand afterwards. However, the end product was globs of paint and sand on a paper. Unless the student told their parents what the picture was of, they would have no idea.
I get all my art project ideas from Mother Goose Time. This year, they have decided to incorporate a special program into their curriculum called Invitation to Create. The idea is to put the focus on the process of the children making their own art instead of the final product. A few of the benefits of process art are:
1. The child makes decisions about what they want to create, making their art piece more meaningful to them.
2. Helps them explore their imaginative and creative side.
3. Eye-hand coordination is being developed.
4. The child is using critical thinking skills as well as problem solving by looking at the materials provided and deciding where to put each item to make it look like the thing they want to make.
5. And, in my opinion, less work for the teacher to prepare.
Children are naturally creative. When I first started the Invitation to Create projects, my students would ask hesitant questions like, “What do you want me to do?” “Where does this go?” And they would make negative comments like, “I can’t do that.” Or “You do it. This is too hard.” I think they were used to being told how to do things because they are kids and they are still learning. But, after being consistent, and doing these projects for 2 months, I didn’t hear any of those questions or comments this last week. The students were really excited to do their art projects. And they were proud of their work.
This week, I introduced the topic (gardens), showed them a picture of a garden, we discussed what we saw in the picture, then they went to the tables with ideas in their head and got to work. I set out brown paper and green starch noodles (both provided in the kit sent from Mother Goose Time.) Most of the students cut the brown paper up and glued it on the paper to look like dirt.
One student decided to cut the brown paper up into flower petals and make a flower out of it.
And a different student cut the brown paper up to look like a pot.
For the noodles, most of the students used them to make plants.
But, one student used the noodles as seeds under the ground.
After this last week, I realized that I wouldn’t have gotten all this awesome artwork from the students if I would have cut the brown paper for them and told them where to put each noodle on their paper. I feel like they learned a little more by deciding for themselves where they wanted to take their art. Plus, some of them came up with ideas that I never would of thought of; and they were good ideas.
I am really starting to love the Invitation to Create program. I know it will get even better as time goes on and the students start to explore their imaginations more. It makes me excited for next month’s theme “Community Helpers” and the art the students will do. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!
And as for the “plowed field” photos at the beginning of this post, the students were really proud of what they accomplished. And I am proud of them too.